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Vornado's Reinvention

Chicago Office

Vornado has proved the doubting Thomases wrong, said CEO Steven Roth at NAREIT's REITWeek this week. The REIT has finished two years of simplifying its book of business. Unable to sell its Merchandise Mart portfolio in one transaction, it did so in eight or nine but held our 3.5M SF Mart (the showpiece) and began a creative office conversion. (This also works in school cafeterias. Nobody wants the whole bag, but you can unload your apple, sandwich, and Dunkaroos individually.) It has upped the Mart's income stream and long-term value, aided by the high-profile 600k SF-plus lease by Motorola Mobility. And just recently, eBay-owned Braintree took 60k SF. The REIT also exited Steven’s bread and butter—malls—deciding it didn’t have the scale to compete with Simon and GGP, and spun off 80 strip retail centers.